According to a nice old lady, in a recent interview with Victoria Wood, the Second World War would certainly have been lost had the Nazis only been able to interrupt our imports of tea. She worked at Bletchley Park where Britain’s greatest ever war hero Alan Turing used to chain his mug to the radiator to stop any light fingered cryptanalyst from filching it. So great was the risk to our island home should Turing’s enormous brain pan be deprived of its regular cuppa.
The risk to our safety and security and the spectre of concentration camps being erected on the outskirts of Newark-On-Trent is considerably less if I don’t get anything written for Positively Arsenal this morning, but such is the moribund state of my imagination that I have made a pot of that fine fluid in the hope it keeps me lucid long enough to invent some form of verbiage for your edification. I’ve opted for a blend of Assam and Kenyan black leaf teas put together by Taylor’s of Harrogate, apparently if one believes the crest on the packaging, Prince Charles drinks it. But I shan’t allow that to put me off.
I’d love to be able to look into the leaves at the bottom of my cup and tell you that they suggest an historic victory on Sunday but the precious caffeine in my brew is only going to help in keeping me awake and not actually bestow any kind of prescience upon me. Sorry. In any event isn’t it somewhat premature to be looking so far ahead? Well, maybe not. Let’s face it as the matches run out, like sand in an hour glass, every grain suddenly seems more important, more detailed and significant. We look forward to each game with ever more keen anticipation, like an old man knowing each passing spring brings him perilously closer to his last.
A few things have been said about our opponents at the weekend, with some of which I need to take issue. Not least here on this blog penned yesterday by our very own Bradyesque7 in his extremely excellent round up. He said, and I quote, “This is Arsenal vs. Manchester United and it is the game I have been waiting for all season.” Just goes to show how different we all are. It’s the one Arsenal match I hate above all others. I haven’t seen our erstwhile skipper in the vile red and black because I haven’t watched Man Utd this season. I recall one year actually taking the family out for a walk with the dogs rather than watch them. I checked later and it transpired that Adebayor had scored and we’d won so as a tactic it worked rather well. But this isn’t about some silly superstition. I genuinely despise looking at as much as a pair of Man U socks. When it comes to our matches I watch after the event, or on live pause, so I can fast forward through their possession and only watch when we have the ball. Some say it’s a little extreme but I’d rather have root canal surgery carried out with no anaesthetic by a drunken dentist with Parkinson’s disease than look at Ferguson’s revolting face as it pollutes our beautiful stadium.
I do sometimes wonder if the fact that I don’t see them has diluted any negative emotions I might otherwise harbour for Mr Persie. But of course I can’t say as it’s a theory I have never felt the inclination to test. I am however well aware that plenty of other Arsenal fans seem unusually exercised by him.
The entire scenario brings to mind the unfortunate nuptials of an old school friend of mine who was a little unlucky in love. Almost as unlucky as any of my wives have been in fact. His bride, it later transpired, had been conducting a long and highly illicit liaison with the gentleman responsible for the catering at their wedding. They’d hired him as, when approached to rustle up the old vol-au-vents and cocktail sausages he’d offered a remarkably reasonable estimate in regard to his fees. Well no bloody wonder my friend said with admirable understatement when the ghastly truth eventually came out. The point is that when I asked how he could be so sanguine as to the nature of his cuckolding and indeed how he could speak of the dreadful woman with such equanimity, this is what he said. “Simple, Stew, after finding out what she was really like and what she’d been up to, I just don’t love her any more” Well no, I retorted, and I should bloody well think not. Of course you don’t love her, but how on earth can you be so calm when talking or thinking about her? I seemed more agitated when we discussed that bearer of the scarlet letter than he ever did. And do you know what he told me? He said that just because he didn’t love her didn’t mean he hated her. The opposite of love, he told me is not hate it is indifference. And by golly if the scales didn’t fall from my eyes in that instant. The clouds parted, the light of reason shone down and I cried out ‘call me Saul no longer for now my name is Paul’.
He was as correct in what he said as any human being could ever hope to be. If you are sufficiently passionate about the unmasking of our ex-captain and his apparent treachery to indulge yourself in active hatred of him then you obviously still care an awful lot about him. Give it up. Let it go. I am honestly as indifferent to him as every other player in the world who doesn’t play for Arsenal. They exist in some wraith like insubstantial form occupying a kind of football nether world. You know like those things under the mountain in Lord Of The Rings that even Aragorn was shitting himself over. Except not scary. Robin doesn’t scare me. I’m happy for him that he’s finally had a couple of injury free seasons but only in a vague, disconnected, abstract way. I don’t really mind what happens to him. Let him marry the chef if that’s what he wants.
As far as the whole clapping, honour guard mularky is concerned I seem once again to be out of step with popular opinion. My take is we should display our class by applauding the league winners. Precisely in the way we would expect a classy set of away fans to applaud us when we next win the title. Instead of looking like a bunch of whining, snot nosed children who are too emotionally immature to cope with someone else winning instead of them, we should be dignified and unperturbed. I would also like it if our players could stand there and clap them and take a good close look at them and think ‘I want that to be me’. I’d like to think they could use the experience as inspiration to go out there and win the damn thing next time around.
Of course having said that it’s easy for me, I won’t be there. Because naturally the sanctimonious author who just produced a caffeine fuelled rant lecturing you on how to act with adult sangfroid in the face of Red Nose, Judas and all of their revolting little cohorts is too childish and feeble to even bear to watch them play on television. Hypocrisy is a merciless mistress, but I serve her to the best of my ability at every opportunity.